Ministry of Defence sets up committee to review AFHQ

In order to enhance the combat potential and rebalance defence expenditure, the Ministry of Defence has set up a three-member committee under Lt General Shekatkar (retd). The main task of the committee is to review the utilization of Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services (AFHCS).

Highlights

The Committee is to identify appointments in Inter Service Organizations and Service Headquarters. The main objective of the committee is to help save expenditure of Rs 25,000 crores in the next five years. The committee was suggested by the 11 member Shekatkar committee. This committee was formed by the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in 2016. It made around 216 recommendations of which as lot were implemented in 2017.

Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services

The headquarters is responsible to provide civilian staff, support services, secretarial and clerical to the headquarters of Indian Armed Forces. It was established in 1968.

Controversies with AFHQCS

In 2016, the Ministry of Defence issued a letter that equated Armed Forces Headquarter Civil Services and designations with the ranks of the Indian Armed Forces. The rank equivalence created without the concurrence of Armed Forces Headquarters created resentment in Armed Forces. This creates a huge controversy. Later, it was withdrawn in 2018.

11 member Shekatkar Committee recommendations

The following were accepted

  • To speed up road construction
  • The land acquisition and other clearances such as environmental and forest clearances were made a part of Detailed Project Report
  • Compulsory to adopt EPC mode of execution of works that cost more than Rs 100 crores. EPC is Engineering Procurement Contract
  • Closure of military farms in peace locations
  • Closure of Army Postal Establishments in peace locations
  • To improve efficiency of National Cadet Corps
  • A roll-on defence budget to save enough capital expenditure for modernization
  • To enhance the standards of clerical staff and drivers in the army.

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